Seule la Fleur de Lys règne sur la lune

CuervoGold

Senior Member
Spanish - Spain
Hi everybody,

According to Wikipedia, Bordeaux city has the following motto: "Seule la Fleur de Lys règne sur la lune, les vagues, le château et le lion" (I understand it as "Seulement la Fleur de Lys....". In Spanish "Solamente la flor de lis..." too).

Why is it translated as "The fleur-de-lis alone rules over the moon, the waves, the castle, and the lion" in English, in the Wikipedia? Shouldn't it be "Only the fleur-de-lis......".

Thank you very much!
 
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Eactly, both mean the same. But "The flour-de-lis alone" is more forceful, more literary, and closer to the Latin original of the motto.
     

    CuervoGold

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Spain
    Thank you very much! I'm still a bit confused. I mean, in "The fleur-de-lis alone rules over the moon, the waves, the castle, and the lion", does this "alone" mean something like...:

    a) to the exclusion of others; only (as in "she alone believed him")

    b) without anyone or anything else, with no help (as in "one man alone could lift it").

    I mean, is the motto stating that the flower rules without any help (b) or that there's no other than that flower to rule (a)?

    It's a little difference, but I would like to understand it. Thank you again!
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Your definition a) is right, as in "She alone believed him" = she was the only one who believed him.

    Ways in which you could interpret the motto are that only the fleur-de-lis is capable of ruling, good enough to rule, entitled to rule over the moon etc.


    The Latin original of the motto is: Lilia sola regunt lunam undas castra leonem.

    A similar construction is used in this sentence from Juvenal: Mors sola fatetur quantula sint hominum corpuscula = Death alone reveals how small are men's bodies.
     
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